Prepare yourself for a classic good news/bad news situation. We’ll begin with the good.
Bruce Campbell has indicated that production on Evil Dead 4 might finally begin this year, with a release in 2021. The fifth film in the franchise (fourth in the main chronology) has been rumored for years now and recent interviews with Sam Raimi indicated that the wheels were finally moving on the project and that he’d chosen a director to helm it.
And now for the bad news: Ash Williams won’t be in it. Yup, the chainsaw-handed Deadite slaying goofball who’s effectively the face of the franchise is stepping back to a producing role. Here’s how the man himself put it during a recent Q&A at the Fan Expo Vancouver:
“We’re producing more Evil Dead movies. Maybe one later this year. Sam Raimi’s hand picked the next guy to make another creepy Evil Dead film. It just won’t have Ash. There are more stories to tell.”
Bruce Campbell retired from the role of Ash in the wake of Ash vs. Evil Dead‘s cancellation and, save for a couple of voice-over appearances, he’s stuck to that decision. On one hand, I can respect Campbell deciding that he doesn’t want to play Ash any more and sticking to it. After all, we have three excellent movies and three seasons of a TV show to look back on. Plus, with Campbell now in his 60s, I can understand why he might not want to go through the extremely physical slapstick action that comes with the character.
Even so, it just won’t feel like a proper Evil Dead without him. 2013’s Evil Dead, directed by Fede Alvarez, was okay, but was sorely missing his charms and chin. Plus, there’s the fact that Raimi would apparently drop everything to direct Evil Dead 4 himself if Campbell agreed to do it, saying:
“I would love to direct a new Evil Dead movie… but I’d really like to do it with Bruce. And he says he’s retired the character. I hope not.”
Let’s hope Campbell reconsiders and we get to watch Ash kick ass one final time.